Henrico considers May 1 start for meals tax, pending approval by supervisors

Henrico County officials have identified May 1 as a potential start date for a 4 percent meals tax that was authorized by voters in a Nov. 5 referendum.

Before a meals tax could apply in Henrico, the Board of Supervisors would have to approve an ordinance establishing an effective date and other details, such as parameters for what purchases would be taxed. The board is expected to receive a proposed ordinance and hold a public hearing in the coming weeks.

“At this time, a meals tax has been authorized for Henrico, but it has not been formally adopted by the Board of Supervisors,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said. “As we move forward, we want the public to understand where we are in the process. We also want to work closely with restaurants, grocery stores and convenience stores to answer their questions and to help them prepare to begin collecting the tax.”

The Henrico Department of Finance has fielded questions in recent weeks about whether a meals tax has taken effect. Officials emphasize that only Virginia’s 5.3 percent sales tax should be charged currently in Henrico on purchases of prepared food, such as a meal in a restaurant.

If adopted by the board, a 4 percent meals tax would provide an estimated $18 million annually for operating and capital expenses of Henrico County Public Schools.

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